Video game remakes are exciting releases for many gamers. They bring what was beloved in the past back to the current day in a multitude of ways. These are not mere remasters, though, which focus on visual upgrades. While a graphical update is implied to happen, an actual video game remake is when the developer completely rebuilds the game from the ground up. The developers have the original work in front of them to work on, but they will need to either fix bugs, controls, or other issues that make the original version of the game hard to play. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the ten best remakes of popular video games.
Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy
Crash Bandicoot was in the middle of a long hiatus in the 2010s, with many of his game releases since 2000 being largely forgettable experiences. It was a far cry for what used to be PlayStation’s mascot in the 1990s. When Vicarious Visions set out to bring back the original three Crash games, they had almost no access to the original source code. The original games were made specifically for the PlayStation, so making that work on consoles two decades later required a start from scratch. Sony and Naughty Dog were able to provide various polygon meshes from the original games, but Vicarious Visions had to decode anything that they were given because it was “compressed in some wacky format.”
The team had to rebuild the gameplay from scratch, making all three games feel very similar to each other. To give it that Crash Bandicoot charm, they added in brand new art, animations, and audio that was shown off to fans who provided feedback on how it felt compared to the original. They took many steps to ensure that the authentic feel was nailed here.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
After the N. Sane Trilogy, Crash Bandicoot fans were clamoring for the Crash Team Racing games to make a comeback and got their wish in 2019. While at first glance, it seems to be a remake of only the original game, there is content present from Crash Nitro Kart and Crash Tag Team Racing as well. Every character has different skins and customizations available for their karts, and for the first time, online multiplayer is added. Like the N. Sane Trilogy, all of the assets had to be made from the ground up by the developers.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Following the massive success of Crash Bandicoot’s return, the next logical character to make a comeback was Spyro the Dragon. In the Reignited Trilogy, players can play the first three classic Spyro games that were all completely rebuilt from the ground up by developer Toys For Bob, who had no access to the original Insomniac Games source code or assets. Spongebob Squarepants voice actor Tom Kenny (who voiced Spyro in the original Ripto’s Rage and Year of the Dragon games) voiced the purple dragon for all three games and The Police’s drummer Stewart Copeland’s original soundtrack was re-recorded entirely with the option to switch between the original and new version.
Gameplay improvements include shooting fire set to the back right button and camera control set to the right analog stick, with an option to revert to the original control scheme at any point from the pause menu.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening was initially released on the Game Boy in 1993. It was a classic Zelda adventure then, but having only two buttons to press made controls challenging to get into as well as the fact that it was only available on Nintendo’s older handhelds. The remake for Nintendo Switch features a brand new art style not used in the series before that gives everything a toy-like look with a plastic texture to it. The sword, shield, and dash boots no longer have to be equipped from the inventory screen like in the original game, but instead have their button layouts like in traditional Zelda games.
Brand new for the game is a dungeon creator mechanic that allows you to set out rooms you’ve already been to set up challenges for other players. It’s still a smaller experience overall, but having Link’s Awakening brought back to modern times is nice to have.
Resident Evil 2
Capcom is firing on all cylinders in the late 2010s, and the Resident Evil 2 remake is a prime example of that. The original game released for the PlayStation and ran the same as its predecessor, with isometric camera angles and tank controls. The remake completely changed the game to feature an over the shoulder perspective and incorporated the third-person action gameplay that made Resident Evil 4 so famous. RE2 was so popular that it was in high contention for multiple outlets for the 2019 game of the year awards.
Shadow of the Colossus
Shadow of the Colossus’ remake is a bit of a different story than other games on this list in that it already had a remaster made for the PlayStation 3. Instead of updating that version of the game, Bluepoint Games started from scratch, creating high definition assets to meet the original games feel, but also made a new control scheme to make it easier for players to get a handle of.
Metroid: Zero Mission
Metroid: Zero Mission is a remake of the very first Metroid game released for the NES in 1986. Almost two decades later, the original game had not aged as well as some other Nintendo classics. To bring the game back, Zero Mission features a new story that delves into Samus’ past. New items, areas, mini-bosses, and difficulty levels were also added to the Game Boy Advance title.
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver
These two games were made to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Pokémon Gold and Silver. The second generation of Pokémon was beloved by franchise fans, so it was important for Game Freak to both make it feel as good as then, and brand new for newbies to the series. Changes mostly include slight alterations to the order of the journey you are on to be the very best like no one ever was. Aside from that, some features from Crystal are present, and all 493 Pokemon up to that point was available to be traded from other games.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty
Oddworld: Abe’s Odyssey was a top-rated PlayStation game, and New ‘n’ Tasty is a complete rework of that game. The story and gameplay overall remained the same, but cutscenes were rendered in realtime, and the framework of the game was made from the ground up using the original assets as blueprints for the 3D models and layouts. Probably the most significant inclusion to New ‘n’ Tasty over the original game is the quicksave feature that gave original players nightmares.
Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Six short years following Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid released, it was already time for the game to be remade for the GameCube. It was developed by Silicon Knights, who were under guidance from Kojima and Shigeru Miyamoto. The game features brand new cutscenes as well as re-recorded lines by the original voice cast. On the gameplay side, multiple features from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty were introduced, including the ability to shoot from a first-person view.